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ANR: China Stacking the Deck for Government-Designated Accounting Firms; Amazon Wants a Deal with Texas on Sales Taxes; PwC Buys PRTM | 06.24.11

China tells firms to favour govt-designated accounting firms [Reuters]
China has told companies to favour government-designated accounting firms as their auditors for sake of “fair and orderly competition” in the sector, according to a notice published by the Ministry of Finance on Friday. The notice came as a string of accounting problems and stock plunges has hit publicly traded Chinese firms in overseas markets and sparked deep concerns across auditing quality in China. According to Ministry of Finance notice, large and medium-sized companies should prefer accounting firms that are allowed to provide auditing for H-share listed companies.

Poll: Americans See Debt Threat, Reject Tax ‘Scare’ [Bloomberg]
Americans say that the $14.3 trillion U.S. debt threatens the economy and that entitlement programs may go broke even as they dismiss as “scare tactics” the arguments offered by Republicans and Democrats who are debating a solution. Their sentiments in a Bloomberg National Poll suggest that the public is open to the recommendations of the majority of President Barack Obama’s debt commission. Members of the group, which included current and former members of Congress and White House officials, called for revenue increases and spending cuts that would have shaved deficits by $3.8 trillion over the next decade.

Tax Dispute Stalls Debt Talks [WSJ]
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R., Va.) said he was backing out of the talks for now because the group had reached an impasse over the question of whether tax increases should be included in the deal. The only other Republican in the group, Sen. Jon Kyl (R., Ariz.), soon followed suit, agreeing that only the highest levels of leadership could break the logjam between Democrats’ demand that the budget deal include tax increases and Republicans’ adamant opposition to that demand.

Tax Break for Mortgage Debt Is Ready for the Wrecking Ball [Bloomberg]
Forty-nine percent of respondents in a Bloomberg National Poll said they were willing to abandon the mortgage tax break if it meant lower overall tax rates. Only 45 percent opposed the switch. That’s a sharp contrast with polling patterns of prior years, when the public showed 2-to-1 support for keeping the mortgage deduction. The Bloomberg poll of 1,000 adults conducted June 17-20 has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

Let’s Make a Deal, Amazon Tells Texas [NYT]
In the middle of a fight with Texas tax collectors over book sales in the state, Amazon offered Thursday to invest $300 million in five or six warehouse and distribution centers in the state, employing 6,000 people, if lawmakers would let the company operate for four-and-a-half years without collecting sales taxes.

The NBA Salary Cap Gives No-Tax Dallas and Miami an Unfair Advantage [TaxProf]
Relatively decent teams.

IRS Increases Mileage Rate to 55.5 Cents per Mile [AW]
Up from 51¢.

Factbox: Big Four audit firms on approach to risk in China [Reuters]
The string of accounting scandals in China is prompting the “Big Four” audit firms to be on alert, fearing a blow up at a Chinese company could cause big reputational risk. Reuters asked all four firms about their approach to working in China and whether the recent scandals have prompted them to review their procedures when taking on work for Chinese companies looking to list on exchanges.

PwC to Acquire PRTM [PwC]
“The PRTM team will provide our firm with significant capabilities in the areas of operational strategy, execution and business model innovation,” said Dana Mcilwain, PwC Vice Chairman and U.S. Advisory Leader. “We are especially pleased that the PRTM team of highly talented, globally-oriented professionals have chosen to continue their careers at PwC.”

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